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writers, john nichols, films, how many westerns, you know, have we seen that have landscape of mesas and buttes and the range, and there's a powerful draw in termings of the end chanted landscape, indeed, and the official state nickname of new mexico is land of enchantment, carrying a whiff of new aged mysticism with it and makes it glowy and warm and fuzzy and tends to obscure a much more complicated reality, and, ultimately, that's what desert american's about, how we imagine the desert or how it's imagined for us by the many arctic tis representations that -- artistic representations that created a vision of the desert
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for us that's consumed, bought, and sold, the stage upon real estate being sold and hotels and stays in hotels, and tourist packages, ect., and how complicated the actual human geography of the place is. there's imagined place and there's the lived place. i'm going to take you to northern new mexico briefly here. angela chose northern new mexico. she's from central new mexico, and both of the families have issues with addiction, and that was another point of end counter between us. she chose northern knack, i -- northern new mexico, i think, not to be right next door to her family, but close enough to
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visit often, and, also, because northern new mexico, there's a espinola valley along highway 68 coming out of santa fe ultimately and if you have driven there, you go through that espinola valley called the low road. that place has i highest rate of addiction and death from overdose of heroin of anywhere in the country and has for a long time, and the problem is not getting better, but it's getting worse. >> watch this and other programs online at
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>> host: so, john, great to be with you. >> guest: good to see you. >> host: we debated same-sex marriage across america, and here now with a hot off the press book debating same-sex marriage, oxford university press so let me just start with you, and maybe you could share with me, again, and with the viewers here, what's your best three minute case for gay marriage? >> guest: well, to keep it very simple i think relationships are good for people, marriage is good for relationships, and some of our fellow citizens are gay so when i say that relationships are good for people, not just because they make people happy, although that's app important
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part of it. we all want to live happily ever after, as it were, but there's also something about having something to come home to at night, wake up with in the morning, share one's joys and sorrows with, be committed to, make sacrifices for. the reason that relationships are good for people is that they make us better people. i'm a better person because of my, you know, ten year-plus relationship with my partner mark. when i say marriage is good for relationships because commitment is good for relationships, but marriage ties us into the larger community in a certain way. marriage ties us into our families in a certain way. my parents regard mark as their son-in-law which is important to sustaining the family life that we have, and then some of our fellow citizens are gay. we can talk more about that, but, you knowing i think one of the reasons we see a shift over the last 15 years in favor of same-sex marriage, and the
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country is evenly divided on the issue now. half the country, at least in the polls. now, when we look at the election results, there's something different, but in terms of the poll, between 1996 when gallup started looking at this and 68% of people were against same-sex marriage and 27% in favor, and now it's 53% in favor and 50% in favor in 20 # 12. there's a real shift there. the reason we see that is because people increasingly recognize that gays and lesbians are their fellow citizens and so on and that our relationships are important to us and our lives. >> host: and, yet, every time that, so far, we have four elections coming up, this november, maryland, and washington in minnesota, and in maine, and they span the spectrum, and in two states, washington and maryland, the legislature passed gay marriage,
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now going to the voters to veto it or affirm the legislature's decision. in minnesota, they are voting on a marriage amendment saying marriage is one man and one woman, 30 some-odd states passed similar legislation, and in maine, for the figure time, trying to pass gay marriage. will be an interesting election for those of us who watch marriage, and, yet, you know, up until this year, gay marriage has never won any open vote. given this is a real question. given the simple and beautiful case you lay out for gay marriage, why do you think it has not -- why are there so many people who really are not on board with this gay marriage thing? >> guest: it's a fair question, but i don't like it when you call it the "gay marriage thing" because it sounds trendy.
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>> host: i thought you told us it was a trend. >> guest: i didn't mean it that way, but a trend of the -- i think people are afraid of the unknown. i think that, frankly, your side has been much better mobilizing people politically than my side has. i think a lot of that has to do with people mobilized in the churches, you know, on sunday, if their pastor says you have to protect marriage, and they are feeling unsettled about marriage because, i mean, one of the things you and i tend to agree on is that, you know, marriage has been in trouble in the country in recent decades in certain ways. i think that case can be overstated, but i also think that one of the reasons that this book works and you and i are able to sort of meet somewhere, and even though we disagree sharply in the book, we can talk and understand each other better than some because we agree that marriage is important, and so people have fear about marriage
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deteriorating, and this is a further threat, and the natural inclination is to say, no, no, no, but i think that inclination is waning. people say this is not a zero-sum game. we can give marriage to same-sex couples without taking it away from or having it deteriorate for different sex couples, and i am hopeful that in the fall, at least one of those states, and, maybe, several of the states will actually reverse the election trend, and we may win. we'll see. >> host: when i asked you why people disagree with you, and still, very substantial numbers, and north carolina, just this year -- >> guest: right. >> host: a decisive defeat. >> guest: we can do a
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political analysis the way the votes go the way they do. >> host: not lining up. >> guest: right. >> host: that's certainly true, and so, again, this is a real question. do you think the reason that i've spent the last ten years debating same-sex marriage is because i'm afraid of the unknown? >> guest: i wouldn't dare try to speak for you and your motivations for why you are doing this. it would be interesting to talk about why you do this. >> host: let me flag it because this happens a lot, particularly to people with traditional moral understandings, people with more progressive, and i don't know if you -- you are kind of, i don't know if you center left or right, but you're in there; right? >> guest: all center something; right? >> host: i'm just right wing. >> guest: okay.
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>> host: i've just been struck by how often the only way that progressives can understand why people disagree with them is to root it in either prejudice or fear. even president obama saying people clinging to god and their guns. those of us on the conservative side of the spectrum, i'm flagging it. do you really -- do you really think there isn't a substantive basis to the disagreement? given that for the average voter, maybe they are not as involved in the particulars, and their influence and people influence them, ect., is there a keep of core to the disagreement which is not rooted in fear, but it's something else? >> guest: right. one of the reasons i wanted to do the book with you, and when they talked about who to get to do this with, i thought you were a good perp to do this is because i wanted one of the best
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people on the other side to sort of lay out the arguments, step by step, and you do that in the book, and there's a essay and rebuttal. i don't think your arguments work. you don't think mine work. if i don't think the arguments work, then i need some other explanation for why a smart thoughtful person like maggie reaches the wrong conclusion on the issue. just as i imagine if you think of me as a smart and thoughtful person, you need an explanation for why, making bad logical mistakes or missing something? so, perhaps, it's oversimplifying it to put it in terms of fear, but i think that all of us come to the debate with certain blipped -- blind spots, and what i think is valuable about your segment of the book is that i think you draw attention to something that people on my side often miss
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which is that people on your side really want to preserve a special understanding of marriage understood as this mother-father union, and that we may have moved away from that in society, and in many ways we have moved away from that in our understanding and the law and so on of what marriage -- what a relationship needs to do to qualify for marriage. we moved away from consummation for a marriage to be tested somewhat, we moved from that. i'm not a psychologist, but a philosopher. i animal -- analyze the arguments and show where the arguments go wrong. >> host: that's fair. i didn't mean to put you on the spot. >> guest: sure. what do you think the people on my side are missing? why do you think -- because you,
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-- >> host: it's not hard for me to understand why a gay man and people who are thinking about this as a question of how are we going to treat the gay friends, neighbors, fellow citizens, family members, would be for gay marriage; right? i think it's become a symbol for many people, even many people who probably are not even going to enter gay marriages. it's become a symbol of the idea of respect for gay people and their relationship. >> guest: right. i want to interrupt you there because sometimes when you say "symbol," people on my side think you are dismissive, it's just a symbol for you people, but symbols are important. >> host: the flag is a symbol. it's a symbol. >> guest: not just a symbol; right? >> host: no, no, exactly. you know, if you come at it from a cultural perspective, you know, symbols are the sacred
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octobers through which and by which we constitute reality. there's people on my side, on the conservative side saying, oh, realm, you know, it's just a symbol, and, it's like, money is real, and the question of, you know, how we're going to understand marriage moving forward is just something fluffy unless you deal with the legal incidence of marriage, and i think that we have a very weakened marriage culture and that the legal structures of marriage have been weakened considerably, and that the symbolic content of marriage, actually, the -- what i call the public meaning of marriage, is, in fact, the most important part how marriage actually influences the way people act and behavior so that's probably one of the things that is different. displg can -- >> guest: can i ask you more about this? you recognize not just gay
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people, but half the country -- >> host: i don't think it's half, but it's a big chunk. >> guest: they can't be all gay people. >> host: no, no. >> guest: want to acknowledge our relationships as -- want to show respect to them, acknowledge the relationships, want to acknowledge us as the family unit we understands ourselves to be. how do we do that if not by marriage? how do we satisfy this real human need, not just to commit each other in a relationship, but acknowledge when our neighbors or fellow citizens have done that, if not through marriage? >> host: well, you know, i -- there's been a lot of proposals for ways to have different relationship structures in my view, and they have been mostly pretty roundly rejected by gay right activists as separate
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means, not equal, cannot demonstrate respect. i think these strike me as basic rights that need to be protected. you know, particularly, things like seeing loved ones in the hospital. i don't think all relationships are marriages, and i think most adult relationships do not require legal structures, frankly. most important adult relationships, but, you know, the law mostly regulates commercial relationships and it touches the family mostly through dependency relationships; right? marriage is a great acception. it's not the normal usual way we build relationships with one another that matter, and the way we say relationships are important is not typically to surround it with a bunch of government regulation. >> guest: right. when we marry, we merge property in certain ways. there are things where the law comes into play, and you can
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understand why legal recognition becomes very important. i mean, in some cases, crucial. displs -- >> host: it's important to some people, but the other thing, john, is this is so important, that why is it when gay marriage is available, it's really only a small minority of gay people who enter relationships? >> guest: that's a complicated question, and i can speak from my own experience. i live in michigan where i'm not permitted to marry, and, in fact, we are constitutionally prohibited to have heritage or similar yiewn your -- union purpose, the terrible language of our constitution. mark and i talked about getting married, say, in new york, where i'm from or another state just to, but there are complications in terms of depending on what said you then end up living in. >> host: i understand, but it's not legal where you live. the question is in places like
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canada or netherlands, you know, for a number of years now, and no more than 10% of people enter legal unions. >> guest: i think that's partly because in many cases, couples have already cobbled together certain limited legal structures to the extent that they can. mark and i have a big expensive binder at home, and people have done that. there's questions about how all of that get affected. i think that's partly because, as you know, given your work over the last several decades, a marriage culture takes time to build, and, you know, when i startedded working on this issue back in the early -- when i started working on gay rights issues back in the early 1990s, marriage was not on the radar. it was not until the mid-90s with hawaii that we talked about it in a serious way, and my friend, you know him well, evan wilson, was working on this, but when evan started working on this in the 1990s, people were
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like, gay marriage? that was in part because we were simply fighting to make it legal to have intimate relationships. i was a felon in the state of texas as i lived there. we can joke about that. i think, okay, not going to enforce the law. how will they catch me? for friends of mine going into law enforcement or education or the military or things like that, the sodomy laws were huge. >> host: it's been a huge change. >> guest: we were not talking about marriage, but it takes time, i think, to make this part of the culture, and not just in terms of the legal incidence. in terms of parents and grandparents saying, so when are you going to make it official? that takes time to build, and i think that that's something worth building for same-sex couples. >> host: one of the i things i remember thinking about, and you can talk about it better than i
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can, obviously, is how the fight for gay marriage has changed the culture in which gay men live internally. the debate about what it does to marriage is somewhat theoretical, but it strikes me the prominent of the gay rights agenda raised men, like yourself, who are, you know, fairly traditional in your view of relationships within the gay cop -- context to a much more prominent level than you were with your own economy. how did that play out? am i making this up? >> guest: well, if i understand the question you are saying more of the mainstream. >> host: when he was young, it was, like, gay, the back house culture, something repellant to him about that personally. >> guest: sure. >> host: and we were at yale at the same time, john and i, so it's overlapping the culture
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time period, and i just something that occurred to me for -- i don't know what proportion of gay men prefer to be in a marriage-like relationship, whether they want it legal or not. >> guest: i think one of the reasons it's caught on so much in terms of as a movement is because we recognize that people are doing this. gay men and less bee yap -- lesbians are settling down, having domestic lives together, and so whereas there were some -- you know, given i'm in academia, i saw it from the academic angle, where there were some queer academics, self-styled queer academics who said, you know, this is co-oping us into this restricted institutions, but this is something people wanted. they wanted to settle down and have a house with the white pight fence and so on, and ting
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it was not so much those arguing for this, and everyone read arguments cop vinceed, and caught on, but they were responding to something that was already a real desire within the community, and it corresponds to a universal human desire for companionship, i want -- intimacy, and for love. >> host: you talked about the ground work for what's the same between same-sex and opposite-sex relationships, and leave the lesbians out of that because -- what have you observed, and, obviously, you have relatives, family, and friends in opposite-sex relationships. there's a lot of ways in which they are the same. how do you think they are different? >> guest: how do you think -- >> host: like loving across the gender divide? >> guest: i think the fact that different-sex relationships create new life is huge. this is something you talk about
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in the book, something i acknowledge in the book, that any relationship which has the capacity for doing that, that makes the relationship with tremendous possibility, tremendous risk, and so that is relevant. i think it's relevant. i think it's relevant that bridging certain sender differences, you know, whether those are bilogical, culture, a combination of the two, a right way to look at it, i think that that can create challenges. i also think that, you know, the challenge, there are challenges, unique challenges for same-sex relationships that do not get acknowledged very often. the fact that so many of us -- at least for my generation, i hope that this is changing, although we hear enough stories to realize it's not completely changed, certainly, that so many
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of us struggle to come out in the face of the thought that my feelings are sick, unnatural, deviant, immoral. that can have leasting emotional scars that i think we do not talk about it because it makes us sound weak, to think that that affects me in any way, but, you know, i came out at a time, and within a context where many people believed that those -- acting on deep feelings i had was sending me to hell. there's people who still believe that. that can do a lot of damage to kids. the fact we have that shared experience with a sensitivity to the experience is one of the differences that we, in many cases, had to fight harder to be acknowledged merely as legitimate, and that we still have to go through coming out, you know, if i'm on an airplane
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coming to an event like this, and they are like, oh, what are you doing? oh, what's it about? i have to make some discussion, which at this point in my life, it's an easy decision. let me tell you about the book. >> host: order it on amazon. >> guest: exactly. here's the link. you still occasionally sit next to that person on the airplane who give you a double-take look, like, oh, you're one of those: that's the difference. >> guest: i think that's definitely true, and, you know, i'm a orthodox roman catholic, so i hope nobody goes to hell, but it's by no means a defunct position that it's not right for two men to have sex. >> guest: i want you to talk about -- >> host: i will in a sec, but the break is coming up, i want you to take the lead in interviewing me.
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>> guest: we'll hold that thought. >> host: i wanted to get to this because what we like to say about the book is it's the only book in the history of the world that ever has been and probably ever will be endorsed by both rick santorum and dan savage. >> guest: that's true. >> host: we talk about civil debate, and dan savage expresses, what gay men feel about me and others with my point of view saying john deserves the gay medal of hop nor for the work he's done in keeping cool and engaging responses in the face of bad and sometimes infuriating insulting arguments. john is like your favorite college professor. so how your very good, and you've, obviously, chosen, maybe this part of being a professor, to engage in relationships with people with whom you profoundly
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disagree, and not really, to me, like, i understand how you could sit around and be pleasant and you're kind is the word that comes to mind when i think about you as well as intelligent and passionately devoted. a lot, and rather good looking too. >> guest: oh. >> host: so what i would say is how do you explain to other people who think it's an insult to them to sit around and be civil to people who have these views, me the symbol of all of those people; right? there's people out there watching this and how can john act friendly and nice to maggie who is doing awful things to people. >> guest: my mother says it's the scotch. >> host: ha-ha! >> guest: no, no. >> host: what do you say about that? >> guest: john is inviting brine brown to dinner, and did
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so specifically, you know, brian, as you know, had challengedded him, you know, i'll debate you any time, any ware, and dan, instead of setting up a big public thing, bringing in a bunch of supporters said come over to dinner with me and my partner, and their son d.j. -- >> host: and cameras. >> guest: and cameras, and mark, who is going to be interviewing them, in part, because i think that, well, he can be very sharp tongued at times, dan savage, and that's in some ways part of his charm, i also think that he understands the importance of reaching across the divide because he comes from a family like many of us do, and you're in a family with a diverse group of people, some of whom sharply disagree with you on very important things. i've loved family members with whom i disagree on deeply important things in a sharp way
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so i think if people think hard about it, they all will be able to find people in their lives who fit that description, and, you know, for me, reaching out to you and in a friendly and thoughtful way is not that difficult, in part because of our shared commitment to elevating the dialogue on this, which is why we did the book together, but also, you know, there's one thing i understand as a gay man is that personal affection doesn't align with societal expectation because society expects you to respond to somebody in a certain way. like, people expect me to respond to women sexually. i don't. you know, just because people expect i'll sit down with maggie and want to tear my hair out because i'm next to the national organization for marriage lady, we hit it off, and we get along, and i think that that can be an occasion for something valuable. >> host: no, i think it's a gift and a habit. i mean, we live in a polarized
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culture where we enjoy, if not hating each other, but ragging on each other, and it seems like there's increasingly small spaces for any other kind of relationship. .. >> host: trying to stand up for what she thinks is right. the clue is when you want to stay in a relationship and when you don't, then you just want to consign the other person to the
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outer most rings of hell so you don't have to relate to them x there's the bad people there, and there's the good people here. i know you come from a catholic background, you're an atheist now, but one of the things that i attribute to catholic culture, actually, is this sense that, you know, we're all, we're all sinners in it together in some sense, right? [laughter] you know, i once told andrew sullivan that we'll have a beer in purgatory and talk it over, and he said, well, that means you think ill get to -- i'll get to heaven eventually. it's hopeful, but it seems increasingly rare. the culture war seems to be invading all spaces. >> guest: do you think that it's in reality rare, or do you think it's just more of what we see in the media reflects the kind of sound bitish, sharp division -- >> host: no, i think in the public culture it's rare, and in reality america's a very nice place.
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i watched focus groups in the new jersey a few years ago, and there was a evangelical mother and a lesbian mother in civil union, and they were working really hard to try to figure out a way where everyone could be okay. it's not always easy, but it was very moving to watch them in the same room. i think that's the great part of america. we have to go for a break, but we'll be right back and continue this conversation, debating same-sex marriage. >> guest: great. >> on the go? "after words" is available via podcast through itunes and xml. visit and click podcast on the upper left side of the page. select which podcast you'd like to download and listen to "after words" while you travel. >> host: well, we're here debating same-sex marriage. i'm maggie gal bear, and this is john -- gallagher, and this is john corvino. this is an unusual situation for the show, we're co-authors, so i
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kind of hosted the first half an hour, so let me turn it over to you, and what burning questions do you have for me that you really want to know? >> host: well, let's talk about something from the book. >> guest: okay. >> host: and i want to -- i'm going to read a paragraph from my section. >> guest: okay. >> host: this is from chapter two which is my opening chapter, and i'm describing a same-sex wedding scene. i say add boyd and josh walked down the aisle, i noticed that they're sweating. this is probably less from anxiety and from the heat, it's june, and the old brick church isn't air-conditioned. the couples are dressing smart black tuxedos, their mothers in tasteful formal dresses. many in the congregation are fanning themselves with the programs. there are simple floral arrangements tied to the pews with cream-colored ribbon. were it not for the absence of a bride, you'd have a hard time distinguishing this scene from any other wedding. in your rebuttal you said that that last line, were it not for
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the absence of a bride, was the one that -- of everything that i wrote, and i wrote a lot of pages in here -- [laughter] that tuck out and really -- stuck out and really got to you, so i want you to talk about that. >> guest: yeah. you take the woman out of the wedding, and then you proceed -- it's like except for that, it's just the same. but it is, in fact, you know, the union of male and female, what makes this, i think, even people who have no religion a sense of quasi-sacredness is the intimate connection between marriage and the link between the generations. it's the hope that when, you know, it's the sense that the grounding of our own being is being reenacted in front of us. and i have a lot of emotion around it because i, i've been thinking about this. i don't think i quite said it in the book, but i think this is part of the central lie of the sexual revolution generally. and i am a child of the sexual
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revolution. you know, i graduated from yale in 1982, i was a pro-life atheist at the time, and, um, the really big lie is that this, the relationship of sex to generaltivity, the reality that this makes new life, the the reality that women bear lives in our bodies, that it's a great gift but it also is a great vulnerability, and, you know, in the '80s it was orthodox feminism, really, which i felt was trying to suppress these truths. we have separated sex from reproduction, right? well, no, we haven't, right? we haven't. and, um, and i do think that before we can see same-sex unions as marriage, we're making a decision about how seriously we're going to, you know, treat
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this phenomenon that we, first of all, that when men and women have sex, they often make children. three-quarters of all births are unintended by at least one of their parents, right? and and on the one hand, this is a problem. children are hurt because when men and women do this without being married, children lose their fathers, and women, it's very costly to be an unmarried mother. it's very difficult, speaking as someone who was one for ten years. and so we, um, for me the question -- well, on the one hand, i think most people who advocate for same-sex marriage want it to be only a question whether we think about gay people and how do we show respect. we are simultaneously making the decision about whether we're going to institutionalize what i think is some of the worst features of the sexual revolution, including the -- we live in a culture that represses our awareness of what we should
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be elevating, which is that, you know, relationships between men and women are freighted with this possibility. men and women are the kinds of people when, you know, who are -- well, it's shaped by this reality in ways that we don't even know, and marriage is the one institution which was not only in this culture, but in all cultures designed to manage this reality, to elevate it so that instead of becoming a social problem, it becomes this quasi-sacred groundwork of our being the way through which we carry society forward. and i don't think that you are going to be able to strengthen or sustain that vision of marriage when you've institutionalized this cross-cutting pressure coming from the idea not only of gay marriage, but of marriage equality which is there isn't, there isn't any important moral difference in the status of same-sex and opposite-sex unions. >> host: i just want to make clear --
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>> guest: yeah, i will. clinging to that opinion, it's one that isn't overarching. what i started ten years ago, if you said the ideal marriage is a mother and father and that's why we shouldn't do gay marriage, the response was puzzlement. now it's vehemence. you can't just take the woman out of the wedding -- >> guest: right. >> host: and act as if nothing has been lost. >> guest: and you, of course, since know that was one of the readers said you need to paint this picture more. >> host: i know. you were surprised in a way. >> guest: it just looked like a wedding. okay. so i get the fact that you want people to take seriously the awesome respondent of the creation of new -- responsibility of the creation of new life. you want mothers and especially fathers to stick armed for the new life that -- stick around
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for the new life that they create and provide loving homes for their you have spring. i get that, and we've talked about that. and, of course, i don't believe that marriage equality means there's no important moral difference between these kinds of relationships. i think what it means is they deserve equal treatment under the law. but here's what i don't get and sort of two aspects of in this. one, i think you and i would both acknowledge, and i'll let you speak for yourself on this, that boyd and josh don't need brides. that would be bad for them probably, and worse even still would it be for the bride. for these men who are gay -- >> guest: it would certainly be a challenging marriage. i wouldn't rule it off the table. >> host: you wouldn't rule it off the table? >> guest: it would have to be done openly and honestly, not secretly. >> host: right. so you don't have any daughters. if you had a daughter, and they said, you know, there's this gay guy -- >> guest: i would think that would be very high risk. >> host: high risk. >> guest: it would be very high
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risk. >> host: but not off the table? >> guest: no, not off the table. you know, there's a story you, maybe you saw it, of a mormon man in a mixed orientation marriage. >> host: yes. >> guest: part of that for him was decided that his identity as a mormon who was, has this particular theology towards marriage as extremely strong in the lds faith, and marriage understood as male/female and rooted in -- [inaudible] so for him is, and i actually knew a jewish man, gay man, who decided to become an orthodox jew. he did not marry, but he had the same experience. it's a decision ha your religious identity is more important than the identity based on your expression of your sexual desire. and so it strikes we as particularly difficult and challenging, but i can respect that as a decision if it's made in good faith and in honesty.
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>> host: okay. >> guest: i don't know if you can. >> host: it's not that i don't respect it. i'm very much, i'm a pro-freedom kind of guy, and i want people to be able to pursue, openly and honestly, the kinds of relationships that they decide are suitable for them, you know, provided that there are no nonconcepting parties being harmed -- consenting parties being harmed, children and so on. >> guest: right. >> host: but suppose that's just boyd and josh do not see that as an option for themselves as most gay men would not, and yet they found each other, and yet they find that their lives are enriched, each enriched by the other, that they find that, um, that they make each other better people. i know i said that earlier, but i do think that's an important part of relationship. it gets us outside of ourselves. >> guest: i have to say one of the things that's very lovely about what you do in this book is unlike many gay marriage advocates, you lay out a rather rich portrait of marriage as
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being about more than romantic love and embedded in moral and communal norms. and i think that is, actually, part of what we share. i just -- >> host: sure. >> guest: it's a very attractive vision. >> host: i think part of why marriage is important is that it keeps people together in commitment for the long haul even as the romantic excitement waxes and wanes. it's funny, we were talking about dan savage earlier, and and he had some writer write to him about, you know, they were talking about moving in together because the person, you know, could then roll over in the morning and would get to do all kinds of exciting stuff, or roll over in the morning, and you deal with morning breath. [laughter] and gas and bad things. so the romantic excitement, you know, it can wax and wane over the course of years, but there's something enduring and valuable, um, and challenging beyond that. so boyd and josh find each
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other, they find that they're good for each other, they want to pursue that further, they want to include their families in that. how do they do that? i mean, do they, you know, do do you object to their having what looks like a wedding except for a bride, and i know you think the absence of the bride is very important, do you object to the family and friends standing up behind them? >> guest: you're putting me in charge of issuing moral orders to people in that i don't know in a way -- and i'm not comfortable for that. i don't think josh and boyd are looking at me to tell them what to do. if it were in my, if it were my own son -- >> host: uh-huh. >> guest: -- here's the cross. i think love and caretaking and commitment are always valuable, and they always mean something. and i respond to that in your portrait of josh and boyd, and i
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can acknowledge that the way josh and boyd put together the world, they're doing something that they think is good and to be celebrated. so i can respond to a lot of that. but for me, um, having my son commit to living in a gay relationship for the rest of his life would not be something that would be easy for me to celebrate. >> host: right. >> guest: so we would be in disagreement, and we'd have to figure out how to love each other across those disagreements. and i think that's, um, you know, it's more intense and more challenging when it's within your own family than -- >> host: sure. >> guest: but it's also part of, it's a related challenge about how we live and love across really deep and important moral differences. >> host: right. i guess i wasn't primarily asking you because i'm looking for advice for boyd and josh who probably are going to do what they're going to do regardless of your advice, or my advice for that matter. but because society, i mean,
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regardless of whether you believe the polls, the support is as strong as the polls say it is -- >> guest: there's a lot of support. >> host: there is support, and there does seem to be a trend in favor of that support because, as you say, people want to respect the choice people are making to settle down and set up house as same-sex couples and commit to each other in that way. what i'm asking you, you know, not that you run the world, but what -- >> guest: i definitely do not run the world. >> host: but if you did run the world, what would there be room for for people like that? >> guest: well, i think as a legal matter there would be ways to structure domestic partnerships that would then probably be celebrated in families and communities in different ways. i think i say in the book, you know, one thing i feel very strongly about is i don't -- in my perfect world gay people would not be afraid, right?
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you know? and i think i would, you know, part of that we could on the groundwork of pearlism and respect for -- we have a lot of differences, but actually we have a lot in common, too, right, as americans, so we recognize each other as human beings x we agree to disagree, and you people who believe in what you believe in would build commitments and feel -- communities and feel free to do that and be respected members of america. that would be my, that would be my ideal world. >> host: the domestic partnerships you talk about, is there not worry from your perspective that that starts to become marriage by any, by some other name? >> guest: but, you know, the problem with civil unions, i actually have avoided taking a strong position because for me the question is are, is that marriage tradition good, or is it discriminatory? that's the question i'm centrally interested in. and i think it's somewhat
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frustrating to gay people that, you know, i don't -- sometimes late at night i do come up with my ten-point plan for what maggie would do, but i don't think it's all that relevant. i think it's, um, because if we, if we really, if i could really win the marriage debate in the cultural sense and win the idea that marriage is the union of husband and wife for a reason, that we need to be strengthening the connection between marriage and its role in creating a connect new life rather than trying to add if more relationships that don't, that ha seem to me to really clearly contradict this model of what marriage is, and can that at tht point, you know, then the question is you have a small minority of people that don't fit the marriage model, they have social needs, how do we meet them? but what -- i knew it would not work, and i knew it ten years ago. you can't sort of buy a compromise, right? we actually, and one of the reasons this debate is difficult
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is it is about a fundamental moral principle. one is that our marriage tradition is bigoted because it expresses that, a, unions are not as sacred or significant to society as opposite-sex unions, and that can be expressed sometimes homophobeically. but, you know, a weaker form says that marriage is something stintive, important and necessary about this kind of union, and gay people are outside it. lots of people are not married, they're not, therefore, necessarily looked down upon, but they're not doing this thing, and this thing is really important. so, um, i, you know, and i have to say i've been proved right in this rather rapidly. the position that david blanken horn took which is that gay
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unions, the equal dignity of homosexual love and full federal civil unions did not protect them from one iota of a program when he acted on the idea that marriage is union of husband and wife by testifying in a state that had prop 8, and it was only about the definition of marriage. so i just feel like i'm, recognize the struggle that we are in, and it is a struggle over fundamentally whether we can retain any heteronormative understandings which are embodied in the sacred, scwaz si-sacred, public institution called marriage. >> host: let's talk about the quasi-sacred claim, because earlier you mentioned that you are a devout roman catholic. >> guest: i don't like to give myself that much credit. i'm an orthodox one. [laughter] >> host: otter -- orthodox. a lot of people assume that your
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argument against marriage is because god says no. you don't make that argument that god says no. you believe something like that, i suppose. but can you talk about how your religious views inform what you do, in fact, in the book? >> guest: yeah. i actually think for me it works in reverse, right? i became catholic because i came to a certain understanding about life, sex and marriage, and i really -- i mean, what people consider the hard teachings of the church, that, you know, i came to believe as a result of my experience in reflection that it has to be wrong to engage in a sexual relationship if you're not in a position to give your child his mother and father raising them. that means, really, it's not okay to have sex if you're not married. like, that's -- about 35% of americans hold that view, but it's not very publicly prominent. so that stemmed from my belief that life in the womb is life. i've never heard a good argument
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for why it's okay to kill developing human beings that we would consistently apply. and you put those things together, and you get something very close to, um, you know, the roman catholic understanding of sex and marriage. and it was a fairly small step for me, therefore, to go -- >> host: so you had an understanding of sex and relationship and marriage and -- >> guest: it's true, right? it's not so much that god teaches me. i actually, if you read my first book which nobody should have to, but it's called enemies of the sexual revolution, i wrote that -- i was an atheist when i wrote it, right? and then i went back to the church in my late 20s partly because it was the only institution i could see standing which seemed to be capturing disturb and i said, well, what other truths does it have. and, you know, my faith has progressed since then. and the other thing is i was raising a son, and you don't pass on moral understandings alone, right?
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you do it in communities. so those were or the two strongest motivations. but i do think one of the reasons i think it's only religious people who are publicly standing against same-sex marriage at this point is not because these ideas are so theologically rooted. i mean, the idea a child needs a mom and a dad, that marriage is rooted in sexual difference, these are not, you know, angels dancing on pins sort of ideas. but, um, because you have to, you know, an enormous amount of criticism is directed against you now if you oppose same-sex marriage, and you really need a feeling that you're standing with someone and for someone, and religious people have a stronger motivation, and they have a stronger networking community. and so i don't know if that speaks to me, but i do think it's why religious, you know, the opposite -- the public opposition is shrinking, and it's being narrowed to people who often have a strong religious motivation for standing up for what's called
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the great truth of genesis. we're born male and female called to bring forward new life. >> host: there are married heterosexual couples who cannot create new life. we talk about this in the book. an elderly couple, both widowed, who marry in their 70s. what's the function of marriage then, or do you think it's kind of pointless? why do we support marriage in that case? >> guest: well, i think from a legal standpoint every marital union of male and female serves the public purpose of marriage. and -- >> host: how so? because, i mean, this is something i think gets, that we try to push each other on in the book, but i'm still struggling with understanding your position. >> guest: because every time a man and a woman commit to being in a sexually -- in a faithful sexual union which is not so much for gay people necessarily,
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but for opposite-sex couples is part of the core understanding of marriage still, um, if it's not intended to be faithful, it's not marital in the public imagination. and so because, youow, so marriage is not factory for producing children, it's a way of regulating the sexuality of men and women so that we end up in relationships where we don't hurt each other or hurt either our actual children or our potential children. so, you know, if you look at the history of marriage law in this country, this is expressed over and over again. we really didn't just make this up because we don't like gay people. it's been somewhat covered up because, i mean, i think if we did not, you know, if we didn't have accepted regulation the fact that sex makes babies and we need to, well, they used to talk about regulating lust, right?
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it's a sort of unattractive term for saying you need to create a sexual order, and marriage is the pattern for creating that sexual order. and if you don't, then children get hurt. isn't the reason, isn't the reason that marriage is good for children largely because marriage is about committing to someone for keeps? that is the idea that when you join together in this kind of, you know, union, you are there for each other exclusively for life, and the reason this protects children is because they can count on having that? >> guest: what we know from, i mean, i think this is a very rich and complicated subject that we just touch on. what we know from the social science ed -- evidence is that it's not marriage per se that protects children, because children whose mothers remarry do not do any better on average than children raised by solo mothers. >> host: right. because they know that divorce can be disruptive for children
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and their welfare. >> guest: well, what we know is that the reason the gold standard has been the intact, married, biological family is that there's something about bringing together the child's own mother and father into one family rather or than two separate families which is protective. and i think it's a lot of things. i do think it has to do with the way, um, so when people aren't married, they're often looking for romantic partners, right? there's a conflict between that and being a good mother or a good father. it takes a lot of time and energy and money and resources away from the family. so simply the fact of focusing your sexual and romantic attention within the family, right? it makes it really moving to me because, of course, i have a son who i raised outside of marriage. it's called this child's view of single motherhood, and it's a response to katie --
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[inaudible] you know, stop criticizing single mothers, let's portray them as -- and it's an adult son who is a successful writer and, obviously, his mother did a great job, but reflecting on what it cost her and what it cost him. and so i, you know, i think the answer is really complicated. i think stability does matter. that's why stable, solo mothers who don't cohabit or remarry are, do better than often than remarried, than other single mothers. that actually looks like a fairly decent second best. so, but my question is, and we don't really know -- i also do believe, um, ha children long to know what male love and what female love -- and they long to know whether or not love is an exclusively female, um, characteristic. so like when you're raised outside of marriage, one of the questions you have to deal with is why doesn't my father seem to
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love me, why does one-half of the people who made me seem to not be there for me? >> host: as i'm listening to all of this what strikes me, there's two things that strike me. one is that it seems like same-sex couples and same-sex families because one of the things if we have time is same-sex couples raising children. i'm not, but many do. they are sort of being made to pay the price for, you know, father abandonment by heterosexual fathers. that is, that because there is this problem where fathers don't stick around and support and love their children, that we can't support relationships of of people who don't happen to fall in the love heterosexually. >> guest: well, it's only a price if you believe you have a right to have your relationship called marriage. in my view you've decided, probably for good reason, that taking on a woman and her children is not something that's right for you, right? >> host: or him.
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>> guest: it's not that i'm trying to make you pay a price, it's just that what you want to do is not marriage, in my view. >> host: no, and and that i understand. but there are, of course, many people, families and so on who want to somehow acknowledge and support that, want the law to be able to acknowledge us as the families we with understand ourselves to be, want to be able to stand behind us and witness to that commitment, and it's funny because earlier you said something about passing on moral understanding in community. >> guest: i just want to say, we only have about three minutes left, so i want to make sure you get in the heart of what -- >> host: all right. because -- i'll stick with that point then. because you recognize that we pass on moral understanding in community, marriage and the word is important, we both agree that the word is important, but even more important is the commitment and the fact that one's family and friends and the law acknowledge the household. marriage provides an opportunity
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to pass on moral understanding and community to each other and to my any children who might be raised. so i guess what i'm doing is going back to my earlier concern, if not marriage, what? and i know that you feel like, well, it's not maggie gallagher's job to answer that question, but it's a real question. >> guest: i think parents, you know, i would say that second parent adoption is probably more significant and, in fact, it's kind of dangerous to rely on marriage for your parental rights and relationships. and, again, i'm focusing on the welfare of the children. you know, i think -- i have concerns about deliberately creating children to be deprived of a mother and father which would apply to opposite sex as well as same-sex couples, and, you know, for adoption i think that if you can replace a mother and a father for a child, you should. but, you know, babies need homes. they need to respect everyone who's trying to do it. but, so that's a very short, and we don't really have a lot of
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time to go into it, but if i'm right about marriage, i would say this: that it's not in gay people's interests to be messing with this core social institution. because we all need it if we're going to -- if we believe america's a special place where an understanding this allows you, john, to build a life together, um, if we want that to project that in the future, you know, we need to strengthen our marriage culture because we're headed for a fairly serious problem. the best societies in the world, like america, don't seem to know how to bring men and women together to make and raise the next generation. and if i, what i have never been able to get you to say is how we're going to strengthen this as the heteronormative ideal while simultaneously being always pushed to say that same-sex relationships are just the same, serve the same purposes and need to be treated just the same in the public
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square. >> host: well, of course, i don't want to say just the same, and i realize we have to wrap up, but i do want to say this: like you, i want to strengthen the marriage culture. i want to strengthen commitment, i want to strengthen people's care for their children. i want to do all that, and i want -- >> guest: i hope i'm wrong. i hope you're right. >> host: well, i appreciate the opportunity to try to work it out, at least to try to work it out in the book and, hopefully, in the ongoing dialogue. >> guest: well, john, thanks so much. it's always really amazing to be with you about these things, and i know a lot of people are listening to appreciate your clarity and your commitment. >> host: well, i appreciate being here with you as well, so thanks to you as well. >> guest: thanks. >> that was "after words," booktv's signature program in which authors of the latest nonfiction books are interviewed by journalists, public
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policymakers, legislators and others familiar with their material. after words airs every weekend on booktv at 10 p.m. on saturday, 12 and 9 p.m. on sunday and 12 a.m. on monday. you can also watch "after words" online. go to and click on "after words" in the booktv series and topics list on the upper right side of the page. >> host: rachel cox, who was rob cox? >> guest: rob cox is my deceased uncle who made the decision in june of 1941, six months before pearl harbor brought america into world war ii, he made the decision that he wanted to fight the war against fascism and went to england and enlisted as aen officer candidate with the british -- as an officer candidate with the british army. he took with him four friends, another man who was a student at harvard and three dartmouth guys who had recently graduated and were intent on doing what they could to help the cause of
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freedom and liberty against the forces of nazi fascism. >> host: and so he was studying at harvard at the time. what was he studying, and what was his life trajectory at that point? >> guest: well, he, like his -- he, like his fore brothers, had grown up in new jersey and vermont where his family had had property for quite, several generations. he went to prep school at st. paul school where he distinguished himself as a student and as a student leader and as an athlete. and like all his brothers and his uncles and his grandfather before him, he was quite literary. he was known as a good writer. and when he went to war, he kept journals and wrote wonderful letters which i hunted up and explored to find out really the story of what happened to him when he went to war. and i knew growing up that he had been killed. he was -- by the time i was,
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came of age, he was gone. of course, he was killed in 1943 in tunisia, and that's pretty much all i knew about him except for what he looked like. there were momentos around my grandmother's house. and about six years ago i decided i was going to see what i could do to find out more about it, and that was the beginning of this journey of discovery that led to the publication of my book. >> host: "into dust and fire." >> guest: "into dust and fire." >> host: so his life was a good life at that point, right? there was some money, some family background, etc. >> guest: they were comfortable, yeah. >> host: what inspired rob cox to six months before go off to europe? >> guest: well, this is one of the questions that fascinated me when i started researching the book. he was an idealistic young man, i know that. he went to a, he went to a school that was a christian school, and he was a, he was somewhat religious and felt that
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life was meant to be about more than just yourself, it was meant to have meaning and be helpful to others, that kind of thing. other less noble intentions, i think. he was graduating from college, he had no other obvious plans, and he had what we would now call a low draft number. he knew there was a good chance he'd be drafted into the american army which had resumed the draft in 19, the end of 1940 but had no clear plans to actually go to war, and he wasn't too excited, i don't think, about spending the next couple of years training for no apparent purpose. so he was casting around for something. and i think this fulfilled a lot of meaningful, fulfilled a lot of meaningful goals for him. >> host: so how did he get from harvard to england? i mean, who did he contact? >> guest: yeah, yeah, that's a good question. well, he learned about this opportunity at his harvard club
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which was sort of the equivalent of fraternities at harvard. a little more self-important, i guess. but someone came to talk to the guys at the club who had made contact in england with the american ambassador, the british foreign secretary and had worked out a way for this regiment called the king's royal rifle corps which had, actually, formed up originally in america before the american revolution. it had its roots in the french and indian war. and, of course, after the revolution there were no more americans in the regiment. but in 1940-'43, it seemed like maybe a good way to bring a few americans to the battlefield. and through various informal channels, i guess you'd say, arrangements had been made for a few americans to join the king's royal rifle corps and become officers. so when my uncle heard about this, he thought, sounds pretty
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good. >> host: now, he brought -- was he the leader of the five, of the band of five who went over, or did they separately decide to attend as well? >> guest: well, he was sort of the center of the group in that he made the decision to go. there was one other harvard boy, really, he was only 19, he was a sophomore in college, who had grown up in england, come back to america. he was american, but he'd been raised in england, come back to america to go to harvard, and he, of course, was desperate to get back to england to help his friends fight the nazi menace. at that point in 1941, england had just barely avoided being invaded by the germans. the battle of britain was pretty much over, but they were still, you know, being bombed regularly. they were in a terrible position. they needed all the help they could get. and i think that appealed a little bit to my uncle's sort of sense of chivalry. he really liked to help the underdog, and anyway, i'm
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getting back to your previous question. as far as being the leader of the group, he knew about this opportunity. he went one day to his old prep school for their sort of homecoming event, and he met with a room, ex-roommate, former roommate of his there who went to dartmouth. he tried to talk his friend into going with him. his friend decided not to go, but he took nudes of this opportunity -- news of this opportunity back the dartmouth with him when he went back to school and told his friends there who were very active in the interventionist movement about this opportunity. and they thought it over for a little while but not very long. they pretty much jumped at the chance. so my uncle was sort of the linchpin of the group. he was the reason these dartmouth boys knew about the opportunity. but i wouldn't say he was exactly the leader. >> host: so what did you learn about his experience in england before he actually did any fighting, right. was it through letters home, through research in england?
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how did you find out exactly what happened to him? >> guest: yeah. well, it was mixed. he wrote home to his mother almost every week. letters that were two or three pages, typed pages. so there was a lot of material to read. and, b um, i did go to england. i went to the regimental museum, the king's royal rifle corps has a museum where they document and record everything, pretty much everything they do. they're a regimental chronicles there that you can read. and i saw where he had lived. and i also managed to track down relatives of the other four, the other four soldiers who also had stacks of letters and diaries. three out of the five young men saw themselves as writers. two of them were committed to being professional writers when and if they returned from the war. so they kept really good records, you might say. so that's the main way that i learned it. and i interviewed, um, for instance, some people who
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remembered them and knew them. i heard from soldiers in england who remembered training with them in westminster, england, so i really -- i was able to get a lot of information. >> host: of the five how many survived world war ii? >> guest: three survived. my uncle and another fellow named jack brewster were both killed very close to the end of the north african campaign in april of 1943. >> host: what happened? to your uncle? >> guest: how did they die? >> host: to your uncle? >> guest: well, he was in an isolated position. i went to tunisia to see what the land was like where they were fighting. it was wonderfully interesting and exciting. it's a very broken, dry, rocky, hilly kind of terrain, and any small group of men who were kind of separated from the body of their battalion was very isolated, and it was very difficult to get to -- i'm giving away the end of the book now. you really think this is a good
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idea? >> host: you can -- it's up to you. >> guest: i won't go into too much detail. he, basically, a sniper killed him. it was kind of under noble circumstances. he volunteered to go out with another man to find a gun position that has been parrying the troops, and in the course of that -- in other words, a guy behind a hay stack who just took him out with a rifle and, unfortunately, he was so far from medical help that he bled to death before he could get the kind of help he needed. >> host: so by 1943 they were fully ip corporated into the british -- incorporated into the british army? >> guest: oh, yeah. >> host: and not part of the american expeditionary forces? >> guest: no. that was an issue for them all the way through. before they went they made a big point of making sure they'd be able to transfer to the american army if america actually joined the fray. um, and one of them, jack brewster -- the other fellow who was killed in tunisia -- made
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the decision to transfer to the american army in april of 1943, not long before he was killed. and he got the paperwork done, went through channels. they became very good friends with the american ambassador to england, so they had good nnections. and jack brewster requested a transfer, and this is the kind of thing that you couldn't make up in a novel. no one would believe it. two hours after he was killed -- and i won't explain how he was killed, your readers can get the book to find that out. two hours after he was killed, the papers came through for him to transfer to the american army. so -- >> host: of the three that came back, what kind of careers did they pursue? >> guest: well, chuck bolte was a man who was an editor of the daily dartmouth. he had been sort of a committed newspaperman from the time he was in high school and wrote for the greenwich, connecticut, newspaper. and he came back and went to work, um, for the voice of
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america writing, writing press dispatches. he very quickly was diverted to an effort to found a new veterans' organization. it's kind of an interesting story too. called the american veterans committee which was intended to be a new organization for returning vets just from world war ii. and they envisioned it as a progressive organization. it was integrated unlike the vfw and the foreign legion and the other ones. >> host: the american legion. >> guest: thank you. i said the foreign legion. i knew that wasn't right. the american legion. anyway, it kept him occupied for a couple years. then he had a career in publishing, he was -- at the end of his life was a freelance writer. he was a writer. the other too, hayward cutting became an architect. he was a very good drawer. everywhere they went he was drawing picture, and he was drawing pictures of birds.
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and the third guy, bill dirkey, remained involved in international affairs. he worked for the cia, the defense department. so he was interested in politics all the way along, and he stayed involved working for the american government. those three were with very seriously injured early in their time in the north africa which is in a way why they survived. >> host: rachel cox, this is her book, "into dust and fire: five young americans who went first to fight the nazi army." we didn't want to give too much of the ending, we gave away a little of it. [laughter] rachel cox has another uncle who became rather notorious, and that is who? >> guest: oh, arkansas. bald cox. everyone in hi family called him uncle bill. nobody knows why, maybe he just didn't like being called archie, i don't know.
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>> host: you called him uncle bill? obviously, he's well connected to the watergate era. what do you remember about that era? >> guest: yeah. i think the general feeling was that it was characteristic of him to resign when he was put in the position. i guess he was fired, actually, he didn't resign. anyway, he left. he wouldn't do what the president told him to do when he felt it to be illegal and against his convictions, and he left. so it kind of fits with what uncle robbie did. i mean, they were family who were raised to do what they believed was right, act on their convictions. it all kind of made sense to me at the time. it's funny, i didn't have any sense of really betrayal or anything like that. he went on about his business. i was proud of him, actually. yeah. >> host: and rachel cox is the former editor at preservation magazine, a former writer and editor at time life books, writes regularly for "the washington post," her web site
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is and -- >> host: rachelscox can. >> host: sorry about that. >> guest: that's okay. >> host: this is her first book, "into dust and fire." this is booktv on c-span2. >> with a month left in 2012, many publications are putting together their year-end lists of notable books. booktv will feature several of these lists focusing on nonfiction selections. these titles were included in time magazine's top ten nonfiction books.
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>> for an extended list of links to various notable book selections, visit booktv's web site, or our facebook page, >> host: and here on booktv on c-span2 we continue our coverage of freedom fest 2012 from las vegas.
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libertarian gathering that's held annually out in this city. and we've been talking with several different authors. and we want to introduce you to another author right now, and it's wendy mcelroy whose book is called "the art of being free: politics versus the every man and woman." wendy mcelroy, first of all, tell us about yourself. >> guest: well, i'm an individualist feminist, i'm an individualist anarchist. i've been active in libertarianism for about 40 years now. i've been writing since i was 15 years old. this book is my reaction to 9/11, basically. when 9/11 happened, i started to rethink everything about libertarianism and everything about my belief system. i wondered had i wasted my life to working freedom for the decades i have because i saw a police state arise so quickly
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after 9/11. and so effortlessly. it seemed no one resisted it. it seemed that america gave up on freedom all at one moment. and i did a lot of thinking about my relationship to the state, what the state was, how important it was to my life and how the main thing that responsibility of life, if you want, is what henry david thoreau used to call the business of living. and as a result, i wrote a book, "the art of being free," that gave the theory, the history and the psychology, if you would, behind my response to that whole system of thinking after 9/11 where i basically am tired of dealing with freedom as an abstraction. i'm sick to death of debating the abstractions, and i'm not dissing or disrespecting anyone who wants to debate liberty.
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i just want to be free. i want to know how to be free in my own lifetime, especially given the rise of what i consider a police state. >> host: and what do you change in your thinking after 9/11? and what did you find about your previous thinking, concrete examples? >> guest: okay, concrete examples. one attitude towards the state, if you wallet, was best expressed by david friedman one time in a speech where he said there was an italian saying that if you translate it into english went something along the lines of it's raining again, pig of a government. which is you blame everything on the state. you rail. and you talk and you work against the state. on the other hand, i mentioned henry david thoreau who has been pivotal in my thinking.
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he basically had the idea not nearly of the business of living, but he had the idea of he went out on a, one time in his essay on civil disobedience, he went onto a hill, and he said, looked around at the absolute beauty that surrounded him, and he said here there is no state. i want to look inside myself and say here there is no state. i try to do that increasingly every day by making sure i pursue, um, everything from alternate currencies, interacting with my neighbor in terms of alternate methods of exchange, privatize, privatizing my life, taking my life back from the state and privatizing it to the extent possible. do not deal with the state, do not interact with the state. make sure that you go into businesses that are privatizing government services.
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do not interact with the state. we are going to an unprecedented period of state control of our lives. all you have to say is no, and i'm not saying that you should say it and martyr yourself, martyr your family. i'm not saying anything like that. that would be reckless. what i'm saying is to the extent possible, privatize your own personal life. >> host: so does that mean you're living off the grid? does that mean you're not flying on airplanes because of tsa ask and all the different regulations? are those the kinds of things you're not doing anymore, or is it something -- >> guest: well, i'm here, so i flew. [laughter] and i cannot tell anyone what to do in their lives, and i'm not trying to. what i'm saying ist to the extent it's possible, use alternative currencies, use the gray markets, go, um, private, do not use government.
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and this book, and i don't mean to misrepresent it because it is not, it is more theoretical, it is more historical and the background and the underpinning of everything i'm saying -- i'm actually writing another book right now that will be more the how-to. the whole idea that people have to fight -- this is, basically, psychologically preparing people for the fact that they are living in a police state. they are now, and we are not coming to a police state, we are living in it. you must ask yourself how far are you willing to obey, what are you going to do if certain situations come up? being free is no longer something that you can take for granted. it is something that you are going to have to develop the art of being. >> host: who is beatty chadwick? >> guest: who is who? >> host: beatty chadwick? >> guest: bay the chadwick is a
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man who was in jail for many, many years even though he had committed no crime, he had been convicted of nothing. what it was was it was an imprisonment due to a civil contempt. there are many, many people are not aware of the complexities that have developed in the american court system. in the american family court system, you go in, and you are divorcing your wife, and your wife alleges that you have hidden assets. the judge says, yes, i think he does. even though it's not proven, beatty chadwick went to jail for something like 10, 12 years because he basically refused to turn over records to a judge. that's civil contempt. he was -- and the damnable thing
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is that you can be imprisoned for far longer on a civil contempt charge than a criminal one because civil contempt you don't have the right to appeal, you don't have the right to have a judge -- to have a lawyer. you don't have any rights that are the rights that you would have in a criminal case. so there are many situations in the system that people are uni ware of that -- unaware of that are creeping up on average people like you and me. >> host: is it just the state that concerns you? what about in today's world corporations, when we do searches on the internet? or we use credit cards and our behaviors are tracked or use cell phones and all that information is out there? >> guest: i, i'm, of course, concerned with the ordinary citizen being a criminal which is what you're talking about. if you're saying that i'm concerned with corporations, i have a very hard time drawing a
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line between the state and corporations. i don't think corporations as they exist today could exist unless they had state privilege, unless they had limited liability, unless they had certification by the state and many other -- and when i say it sounds like i'm slamming big business, i'm not slamming big business. business should get as big as it possibly can, you know, in a free market context. let it flourish, let it prosper. if you're asking about the private issue, yeah. of course everyone will go after my data because -- not mine in particular like it's particularly precious, but your data, my data -- because they can make a book off it. -- a buck off it. and as long as i have the ability to say no, as long as i have the ability to shut the door which the state does not let me do but which i would have the ability to do in the free market, as long as i have the
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ability to do that, then it's up to me. the responsibility devolves upon me to slam that door and say mind your own god damn business. [laughter] >> host: wendy mcelroy, why do you think the post office is harmful? >> guest: oh, the post office. well, first of all, it's considered to be a benign institution. it's the one that's thrown up, you know, like at least they perform a service. yeah, the service they have performed throughout the decades from the very beginning when it was established after the founding fathers was to censor. they censored the antifederalists, the -- and in wartime. if any government agency is going to serve a government purpose beyond the service that it purport ors to provide -- purports to provide to the public, any agency is a government agency, privatize that.
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get rid of that. >> host: are most libertarians anarchists? you described yourself as an anarchist libertarian feminist. >> guest: how many egos can i have? [laughter] >> host: is there a lot of overlap between libertarians and anarchists? >> guest: there's a lot of overlap, and anarchists often just describe themselves as libertarians. i am an anarchist in henry david thoreau's sense of the word. i keep invoking him in this interview. he said the government that governs best is the one that governs least. and the least government you can have is no government. so i have that kind of what may be called by some utopian view, most libertarians i know if they were in power and they were

Book TV
CSPAN December 16, 2012 4:30pm-6:00pm EST

Newt Gingrich Education. (2012) 'Victory at Yorktown.'

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 17, England 13, America 13, John 8, Mexico 6, Jack Brewster 3, Henry David Thoreau 3, Tunisia 3, Wendy Mcelroy 3, Beatty Chadwick 3, Maggie 2, Dan 2, Rachel Cox 2, Minnesota 2, Washington 2, Maine 2, Maryland 2, John Nichols 1, Evan Wilson 1, Acception 1
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